Christmas

Christmas is Here Again!

santaWe are days away from Christmas! I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for the holiday. For one thing, I haven’t watched nearly enough Christmas movies. I’ve been so busy with all of the other things associated with Christmas – decorating, baking cookies, attending get-togethers with friends and family, shopping for presents and wrapping presents – that I just haven’t had the time. Oh, I’ve watched some of my favorites (White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Miracle on 34th Street – just to name a few), but I certainly haven’t reached my quota of cheesy Christmas romances.

Fortunately, even when the library is closed (as it will be this holiday weekend), there is always Hoopla, one of HCPL’s digital catalogs that allows customers to stream movies, music and eBooks to their computer or mobile device. Hoopla has a wide selection of Christmas movies to choose from. Some, like Holiday Inn and Babes in Toyland, are Christmas classics. Others, like The Snowman and How to Catch an Elf, are geared toward children. And there are plenty of Christmas romances to choose from for those who haven’t already seen their fill this season.

All of the movies listed below are available to stream through Hoopla. Check out Hoopla, and find a good movie to watch this holiday weekend. Make sure you also browse the Christmas tag on Hoopla and our other digital catalogs to find Christmas books and music, too!

My Favorite Things

When the dog bites, when the bee stingschristmas at Disney
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad
- 'My Favorite Things', Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

I don’t honestly remember when the song 'My Favorite Things' from the musical The Sound of Music first made it onto the Christmas music playlist. I suppose it does talk about “sleigh bells” and “snowflakes” and “silver white winters”, but it has never struck me as overly Christmassy in nature. In the context of this blog, however, it fits perfectly.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always one of the busiest for many people, myself included. End of year deadlines approach, relatives and friends visit, holiday preparations plow steadily forward, and there are too many parties and get-togethers to number. But even in the midst of everything associated with the holiday season, I still make time to watch some of my favorite Christmas movies.

I enjoy Christmas movies of all kinds – animated, black & white, made for TV, etc. – but there are a handful that I love the most. These are the movies I have to watch each holiday season or I feel like something is missing. For instance, my Mom and I always watch White Christmas while decorating the family Christmas tree. It’s been our tradition for years, and one I would be sad to miss.

For this last blog of the holiday season, Donna (my wonderful movie blogging partner) and I have put together a list of our must-watch holiday movies. What movies do you consider essential holiday viewing?

A Christmas Carol

scrooge's turkeyOf all the traditional Christmas tales, there is one that has been explored in movies and television more than any other: A Christmas Carol. Originally a novella written by Charles Dickens in 1843, A Christmas Carol is an enduring classic of the holiday season. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who detests Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by three spirits who help him transform into a kinder and gentler man who embodies the spirit of the season.

It’s not hard to see why filmmakers have continually found themselves drawn to retell Dickens’ classic tale. It includes many of the elements audiences find most compelling: a holiday setting; a transformation for the better; a variety of ghosts; and an endearing family who are down on their luck, yet still happy. It is also a story that lends itself easily to adaptation. Dickens’ story has been retold as a comedy (Scrooged), a parody (Blackadder’s Christmas Carol), a musical (A Christmas Carol: The Musical), with Muppets (The Muppet Christmas Carol) and mice (Mickey’s Christmas Carol), a science fiction tale (Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol), and more. Some of the elements might change from version to version, but the general story of transformation and rebirth is always present.

If you’re in the mood to watch a version of the Charles Dickens classic this holiday season, check out the list below. Some of the titles listed below are available through Hoopla, HCPL’s streaming media catalog. If you have questions about how to use Hoopla, please call any of the HCPL locations and ask a librarian for help getting started.

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town…

Babbo NataleYou'd better watch out, you'd better not cry
You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
- 'Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town', John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

I’ve said this year after year, but it bears repeating: I love Christmas! Christmas was always a big celebration in my house as a child, so the holiday has always been my favorite. I love putting up decorations (in fact, I’ve already helped decorate 3 different trees!), singing Christmas carols, watching Christmas movies, making Christmas cookies, and picking out the perfect gifts for family and friends.

As a child, one of my favorite things about Christmas was, of course, Santa Claus. I loved picturing him in his workshop at the North Pole, preparing all year long with the elves for Christmas. There was nothing I wanted more than to take The Polar Express to the North Pole and hear the reindeer bells. I even wrote a letter to Santa every year and, once or twice, received a reply! And there was nothing more fun than waking up Christmas morning to find that Santa had eaten the cookies we set out and left presents under the tree.

Although Christmas movies take all forms and genres, Santa continues to be a popular theme. In some, like The Santa Clause, he is the main character, while in others, like Frosty the Snowman, he plays only a minor role. A few of these movies, like The Nightmare Before Christmas, even feature a character posing as Santa for some nefarious purpose. But no matter the role, Santa is always crucial to the climax of the story.

It’s early in December yet, but it’s certainly time to start watching favorite Christmas movies! If you’re in the mood for a movie featuring Santa Claus, check out one of the titles below. Many of the movies on the list are meant for children, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t still watch them and remember the magic and wonder of Christmases past.

A Made-for-TV Christmas

christmas sceneI love Christmas! As the song says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and I’m not one to argue. With brightly colored lights and decorations everywhere, familiar Christmas carols playing on the radio, and sugary treats baking in the oven, Christmas is a feast for the senses.

As a child, I grew up in a household that embraced everything about Christmas. We had many wonderful holiday traditions, but my favorites all involved watching Christmas movies together. Each year, we would watch all of the classic Christmas movies like White Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I still love those movies and watch them every year, but recently, I have added a few new movies to my seasonal viewing: made-for-TV Christmas movies.

A Modern Christmas

Christmas at DisneyworldChristmas is here again,
Stand up and cheer again.
Let’s leave our heartaches and sorrows behind.
- "Christmas is Here Again", Roger Whittaker

I know I say this every year, but it bears repeating: Christmas is my most favorite time of year! I love everything associated with the Christmas season and have since I was a little girl. I love decorating the Christmas tree with White Christmas playing in the background, baking cookies while singing along to my favorite Christmas tunes, and wrapping piles of presents late into the night. There are so many traditions associated with the Christmas season, but perhaps my favorite of these involves gathering around the TV with my family and watching beloved Christmas movies.

Last year, I wrote about the classic movies that had shaped my childhood Christmases. I still love those movies today and cherish the memories they bring (e.g., like the year I first discovered White Christmas and watched it every day for two weeks straight!), but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for some of the more recent Christmas movies Hollywood has brought us. Some of the movies are funny and some are bittersweet. Some of the movies focus on the holidays, while others only happen around Christmas. But no matter the story, the joy of Christmas can be felt running through each movie. 

If you’re in the mood for a more modern take on the holidays this year, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today!

A Classic Christmas

christmas treeChristmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year…
- Christmas Time is Here, Vince Guaraldi

We are now halfway through December and there is no denying it: Christmas is in the air! Since I was a little girl, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I have fond memories of “helping” to decorate the tree, writing letters to Santa (and sometimes getting responses!), and making special Christmas cookies with Mom.

I also remember all the wonderful Christmas movies my parents showed me. There were claymation classics when I was young and, during my teenage years, black and white movies and holiday-themed musicals. Now that I am older, I have added many recent movies (Elf and A Muppet Christmas Carol, for example) to my holiday viewing, but these more traditional movies will always be my Christmas favorites.

If you’re in the mood for more traditional holiday fare, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today!

Merry Christmas

I have always loved  children's Christmas books, and at one point, I had a rather large collection. Incorporating books into holiday celebrations is a great family tradition.

I am excited to tell you that this has been an amazing year for holiday books.  All of the books listed here were published during 2012. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at how many wonderful authors have shared their creative talents. I hope that you enjoy reading these items as much as I have. 

Holidays in the Texas Hill Country - Not so merry

Mistletoe Man by Susan Wittig Albert set in the Texas Hill Country is an easy read featuring China Bayles.

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